Is the Far Right trying to get our President killed? This latest round of Right Wing attacks on President Obama appears designed to inspire violence against him, perhaps to inspire someone to attempt to kill him. How far can the Far Right go in their "rhetoric" until it inspires someone to attempt to harm the president? When does it become "hate" speech which equates to a "call to arms" to those that would take such speech as an endorsement of murder to achieve political change. I am afraid that the Far Right rhetoric has already crossed that line. It is endangering the President.
The Far Right "talk show hosts" have said everything except "someone should take a gun and shoot the President" but they have created a climate in which someone who has a predilection to violence will believe that they have the endorsement of the Republican Far Right if they does so. Some nut will believe he has the "patriotic duty" to take out our President. Witness the people showing up with guns at the so called "protests" regarding the national health care reform debate. Witness the "call to arms" that was posted on the Fox News Channel calling on people to show up at the Town Hall Meetings and to shout down, disrupt and attack supporters of President Obama's Health Care Proposals. Witness the House of Representatives member saying that the defeat of the President on the health care issue will "take him down". The Far Right has manufactured the debate and has based the movement on falsehoods and misrepresentations that they know will inspire repressed racial fears in the target population.
Sadly, here in Idaho, the Far Right has inspired one candidate for Governor to publically state that he would buy "Obama Tags" which would entitle him to go hunting for the President. School Children from his hometown (Rexburg) were chanting "Assassinate Obama" on the school bus the day after the election. Racists and bigots are raised they are not born.
Locally, there is little debate over the "public option" because we already know it works. Here on the Coeur d'Alene Reservation the principal recipients of health care through the tribally sponsored Health Center and Wellness Center are not Indians but are young, middle aged and elderly non-Indians. I am convinced that the model in use her could be successful in any rural area if poor and middle class had a "public option" rather than a system based totally on the "means" to pay or having employer sponsored Health Insurance. As long as the poor and the wage earners in America are not insured or are at the mercy of Insurance Companies and Health Care Companies, we will continue to be in crisis. But, having stated my position on that issue, I don't believe that the Far Right even cares about articulating a position. Their position is to unseat this President by unfair and perhaps even violent means.
One cannot dismiss the "call to arms" that has been issued by Far Right Political Leaders and their surrogates as just the rhetoric of sore losers. It is too widespread and too consistent in its message to just be by chance. It is also very consistent in its targeting of "older white Americans". When you look at the television images from the Town Hall Meetings do you ask yourself, as I do: Where are the young people? Do the people that are protesting the loudest really believe that the "public option" is going to be the "death of health care as we know it" to quote one Senate Republican leader who recently ran for President? Does he really endorse the Republican "call to arms" and its philosophy of "disrupting and shouting down the opposition" as the American way? Do the Republicans really believe that they can encourage disrespect for this President and encourage the disrespect being shown to Senators and Congressional Members in the Town Hall Meeting and then demand civility when they are back in power? The cat is already out of the bag and we may never see that former respect and civility again. What they are encouraging is another rip in the fabric of what America was before someone decided that we could be the world "bully" with no consequences to our nation.
Does anyone truly believe the Far Right has the answers to the Health Care Crisis. They can loudly articulate what they don't want; which is anything that smells like a "public option" but they certainly can't articulate anything that would otherwise work. If they had something that would work, they have had some 25 years of Presidential and Congressional power behind them to get it done and it has not been done. Their goal is that they "want the President to fail". They will sacrifice the health, and safety of the American people because they cynically believe that if they can cause a colored President to fail and they can convince white voters that they can only be saved by a white President and a Republican Congress, then they will be back in power again in four years. How desperate. How self-serving. How "base" to think that only by inspiring fear and appealing to either a latent or blatant white fear of colored people, can they be back in the driver's seat.
America needs to come to grips with its "racial" fears and start a dialogue between races that will pull America together not tear it apart. Whites' fear of colored people, as well as colored peoples' fear of whites, is based on prejudging and stereotyping based on race. Perhaps we should be spending some capital on both scientific and sociological study of the reasons for race based fear and how to treat it. Maybe that is one of the best Health Care Reforms we can make in this country. Otherwise, the disrespect and lack of civility we are witnessing today could very well escalate to the point where it will permanently damage our democracy.
Harold Monteau (Chippewa Cree) is an Indian Lawyer and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.